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Four Course Memorial Day Challenge, Part III

Tuesday, we launched our Memorial Day Food Challenge with Hy-Vee Stores‘ Chef Marty Lowry and FrankAboutFood.net‘s Frank Reiter.  For the first course and background on the challenge, click here.  For the second course, click here.

Beer #3: White River Brewing Company – Belgian-Style Table Rock Red

Marty says:

The Table Rock Red, a brew I have enjoyed a few times with family and friends! This excellent choice for our principal plate is paired with a Black and Bleu Beef Tenderloin Salad. The plate provides a variety of flavors and textures. Salty, creamy, spicy, smoky, all play well with the bitter and sweet notes of the ale, and enjoy it’s crisp characteristic against the richness of the dish.

Frank says:

The third course in this menu is our main event, the entrée. I’m going Mediterranean with this course. The beer is White River Brewing Company’s newly re-branded Belgian Style Table Rock Red. I love the addition of the Belgian yeast in the bottled version of Table Rock Red. It has a sweeter malty backbone, but the Belgian yeast provides that subtle spice, and earthy dryness. The creaminess of the tzatziki sauce is a great balance with the lightly spicy nature of the Belgian yeast. And the beer is bold enough to stand up well to the lamb. This burger will really mesh well with, and keep a congruency in the menu with, the couscous salad.

Recipes follow after the jump.

Frank’s Spinach Feta Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce Recipe:

1½-2 lb. ground lamb***
½ lb. ground pork
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
12-16 oz fresh baby spinach (or 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed to
remove all water)
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp fresh mint, chopped
Salt & Pepper
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled
Olive oil
Red onion, sliced into thin rings
Tomatoes, sliced
Tzatziki sauce (recipe below)
Gourmet burger rolls, or Pita bread

Tzatziki Sauce:
1 medium cucumber, peeled and seeds removed
1½ C plain Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lemon
1½ tsp fresh dill, chopped


  1. Prepare the tzatziki sauce in advance: grate (or finely dice) the cucumber. Place the grated cucumber in a paper towel-line colander. Allow moisture to drain for about an hour. Then, combine the cucumber with the yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, and dill. Allow to chill and meld flavors for about 2 hours before serving.
  2. If using fresh baby spinach, heat 1 Tblsp olive oil in sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add baby spinach, and sauté, tossing frequently until all cooked down. Cool.
  3. Combine lamb, pork, garlic, spinach, oregano, mint, feta cheese, and salt & pepper.
  4. A very helpful kitchen tip when making any meat patties or fillings: Make a small tester patty or meatball. Cook in a small skillet and taste for seasoning. Adjust as desired.
  5. Shape meat mixture into patties of your preferred size. Allow to rest for 15-20 minutes before cooking.
  6. Heat grill to medium-high heat. Oil the grill grate with olive oil on a paper towel.
  7. Grill burger patties to desired doneness, flipping once, approximately 10-15 minutes for medium.
  8. Serve on a gourmet bun or burger roll, lightly buttered and toasted on the grill. Place burger on bun, top with a thin tomato slice, red onion slice, and a generous spoonful of the tzatziki sauce.
    Alternately, you may serve the burger tucked within a pita. Lightly toast, or brown, the pita on the grill. Slice in half, opening the pockets in each half. Sit a burger on a plate, top with tomato and onion slices, then slice the stack in half, tucking each half into a pita pocket half. Finish with the spoonful of tzatziki in each half.

***If lamb is difficult to find for you, you may prepare these burgers with ground turkey. In this case, use 2 lb. ground turkey and 2 eggs, beaten for binder. When using turkey, the mixture is extremely loose and difficult to make shaped patties. Do your best to make patties, then place on parchment, on a small sheet pan, and freeze for 15 minutes, until they are more solid, and easier to cook on the grill.

Chef Marty’s Black and Bleu Beef Tenderloin Salad Recipe:

Blackening Spice
1x Head of Romaine, or 2x Hearts
½ cup Bleu Cheese
¼ cup Parmesan Cheese
¼- ½ cup Bacon, crumbled, warm
1x Tomato, diced, without pulp
1 cup Croutons
¾ cup Caesar Salad Dressing


  1. Season the beef with the blackening spice liberally, and brush with a touch of oil. Sear them over high heat for 2-3 minutes per side, and move to indirect heat to finish. Cook to desired doneness; good beef tenderloin can be served very undercooked, as long as the exterior is seared.
  2. Dress the romaine with a bit of oil, and grill. Leaves should become tender, and take a little bit of smoke flavor from the fire.
  3. For service, remove any burnt exterior leaves from the romaine, and then chop. Top the beef with bleu cheese, and warm for a moment on the grill in indirect heat.
  4. Dress the greens lightly with the Caesar dressing, and top with the bacon bits, tomato dice, a couple of croutons, and a sprinkle of parmesan. Serve with the beef.

There are many recipes available for croutons and blackening spice, and there are many quality products available at your local market. Take this dish as far as you like. Personally, I would steer clear of making a homemade Caesar dressing, unless you really know the person who supplies your eggs!

So, that’s the third course.  Who wins this round?  Comment with your vote below and let’s see who wins the grilling challenge.

Related Posts:
The First Course
The Second Course
Overall Menu Voting

13 thoughts on “Four Course Memorial Day Challenge, Part III”

  1. Lamb burger!! That sounds amazing, and out of the box, esp with the refreshing mint and tzatziki. I think it would pair amazingly with the Table Rock Red. Just might have to try this one this weekend.

  2. Spinach and feta is one of my favorite combos, when cooking. It would pair nicely with the Belgian-style brew.

  3. In my opinion, as tasty as the tenderloins sound, the blackened aspect might overpower the subtle characteristics of the brew. The flavors from the burger seem more complimentary. Taken by themselves I’d go with the beef every time. Paired with the beer, I have to vote for Frank on this one.

  4. Both dishes sound absolutely amazing!
    Though others’ concerns about the Bleu cheese overpowering the beer may be valid, I’d have taste to be sure 😉
    I’m going to have to vote for Marty on this one.

  5. Reading the description of the beer flavors, the pairing with the burger sounds much better. Also love that the ground turkey option is given! Stealing this recipe!

  6. Both recipes sound awesome! Gotta give it to Frank for the Lamb burgers tho. Big flavors for a bigger beer.

  7. Gotta go with the lamb burgers on this one, it’s a great pairing with the beer and a better main course option than a salad.

  8. I’m going to have to go with Frank on this one, too. The lamb burger/tzatziki and Rock Red sounds like a wonderful pairing! This is going in my regular rotation.

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